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    Home security steps you should take before leaving for vacation

    June 01, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, June 1, 2022

    Home Security Steps You Should Take Before Leaving for Vacation

    Don't let your home be vulnerable to intruders while you're away on summer vacation this year. Take these 5 home security steps before you leave.

     

     

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    ‘Tis the season for family vacations and getting away from the daily grind. Maybe you’ve been stuck at home for too long and you’re ready to just go … somewhere. If you're planning a summer vacation this year, take one more worry off your list by ensuring your home is as secure as possible.

     

    Most homes are targeted by a simple selection process. A burglar chooses a house with easy access, excellent cover and good escape routes, but they will usually bypass one that requires too much effort or poses a high risk. Here are six home security steps you should take before enjoying your relaxing retreat away from home.

    Dog sitting on suitcases before family leaves for vacation.
     

    1. Look active

    A key part of vacation safety is giving the impression that the home is occupied. Try some or all of these ideas for confusing thieves while you’re gone:

     

    • Install a smart lighting system that turns on and off at random intervals. You might also opt for motion sensor lighting near your home’s entry points. If you have a family member or friend taking care of pets or plants, ask them to turn different lights on and off throughout the home each time they visit. It’s the same effect of smart lighting but with a more manual approach. Leave blinds and curtains partially open so people can actually see lights turning on and off.

    • Create a “vacation” scene with your smart home hub. You could include locking the door, turning lights on and off, playing music occasionally and adjusting the thermostat. Not only does it make others think you’re still there, but it can help conserve energy and money as well by not leaving them on the entire time.

    • Ask the post office to hold your mail until you return or have a friend or family members pick it up for you. A pile of mail and newspapers on the front porch is a giveaway that the house is vacant. Pause your meal delivery services and other regular drop-offs, too.

    • Arrange for someone – a friend or lawncare service – to maintain the landscaping and cut the grass if you plan to be gone for an extended period of time.


    Bonus tip: Ask a neighbor to put some of their trash in front of your home on garbage night.

    2. Keep out of sight

    Hide valuables and other big-ticket items that would be tempting to intruders peeking through the windows. Stow away one-of-a-kind collectibles, laptops and other electronics in a drawer or closet. You probably can’t hide a television set, so consider leaving blinds and curtains closed for that room.

     

    Bonus tip: Remember outdoor valuables. Roll your grill into the shed or garage. The same goes for bikes. Also, kids’ toys that lay out in the yard and don’t move all week, while not particularly valuable, can be a giveaway that you’re gone.

    3. Smart locks

    Keyless electronic locks not only make your day-to-day more convenient but offer peace of mind when you're away. If you choose a smart lock, like the Schlage Encode Plus™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, Schlage Connect® Smart Deadbolt or Schlage Sense® Smart Deadbolt, you can check in remotely and make sure your doors are locked at all times. You can even manage unique user codes if someone needs access to your home while you're away.

     

    Bonus tip: Choose a smart lock with a built-in alarm that can notify you of a disturbance at the door, especially if you don’t already have a security system.

    4. Cameras

    If being able to check in and see what i’s happening at your home is important to you, consider installing a few WiFi-enabled security cameras. With remote capabilities, you can see any activity at your home no matter where you are in the world.

     

    Bonus tip: The Schlage Encode lock works with Ring Video Doorbell, so you can see who is at your door via the camera and unlock it remotely for trusted friends, family or service providers.

    5. Garage security

    Don't forget to secure your garage before you go. With a smart garage door opener and keyless technology on entry doors, you can be confident that the garage is not a weak spot for your home. Think how easy it would be for an intruder to pull into the garage, close the door and gain access to the rest of the house, then load their vehicles with your belongings without the neighbors ever seeing a thing.

     

    Bonus tip: If you have someone stopping by to housesit or water the plants while you’re gone, ask them to park in the driveway instead of the garage to make it more obvious someone’s around.

    6. Unexpected places for safety

    Stopping intruders is usually the leading security concern when we’re on vacation, but it’s not the only thing that affects safety. Now’s a good opportunity to conduct a quick version of your regular home security audit and make sure everything is working properly. You don’t want to come home to an unpleasant surprise, especially if it could have been avoided.

     

    Check for pipe leaks, test smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries and make sure motion-activated cameras and lights are still positioned correctly. Unplug electronics like your television to help protect them in the event of a power surge during a storm while you’re gone, as well as save on energy. It’s best to leave most appliances like your refrigerator plugged in and at the usual temperature.

     

    Bonus tip: Make sure your windows are closed and locked securely, even on the upper floors. If you have sliding glass patio doors, install a blocking bar in the track for a bit of extra security.

    You know your own home is secure now. But what about where you’re going? Read up on these security questions to ask before booking a vacation rental.

     

    How to pair your Schlage smart lock with your new smart device.

    March 02, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, March 2, 2022

    Schlage smart locks | Schlage

    So, you received a new smart home device? Here’s a list of resources to help you get connected with your Schlage smart lock quickly and easily.

     

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    We know a deadbolt might be a bit of a strange gift. But we also know it happens (and we thank you). More likely, perhaps, you got a new smart home hub like Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Apple HomePod® for the holidays. Maybe it’s a new voice control assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant that you want to sync with your Schlage smart lock. Could it be an Apple Watch®? Here’s a list of resources to help you get connected quickly and easily.

     

    Before you can sync your devices, make sure the lock is properly installed on your door and that you have the smartphone app that coincides with your hub and lock. You may need to create an account and complete some initial start-up steps via the app before pairing your devices. Find step-by-step interactive installation instructions for each of our smart locks online:

     

     

    Now let’s get connected.

    Schlage smart locks.

    Samsung SmartThings

    Why pair SmartThings with the Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt?

     

    • Let in trusted friends and family or secure the deadbolt if you forgot by locking and unlocking your door from anywhere using the SmartThings app

    • Gain peace of mind by checking the status of your lock from your smartphone

    • Get app alerts when a user code is entered so you know who is coming and going from your home

    • More advanced features with the Schlage Connect lock with Z-Wave Plus

    To pair your Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt with Samsung SmartThings, open the SmartThings app on your mobile device and tap on Home. Under Things, choose Add a Thing and follow the directions in the app. At the end of enrollment, a green light on your lock indicates success.

    Wink

    Why pair Wink with the Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt - Z-Wave Plus?

     

    • Let in trusted friends and family or secure the deadbolt if you forgot by locking and unlocking your door from anywhere using the Wink app

    • Add and delete user codes at any time and from anywhere via the Wink app, like when you need to give access to a trusted friend while you’re stuck at work

    • Check the battery level via the Wink app

    • Create convenient shortcuts and more advanced features

    To sync your Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt with Z-Wave Plus to your Wink hub, open the Wink app on your mobile device and follow the app’s instructions. When you have successfully connected your devices, you will see a flashing green check mark on the lock. The Wink app will also indicate that it has found the lock.

    Ring Video Doorbell

    Why pair Ring Video Doorbell with the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt?

     

    • See and speak to guests at your door and unlock the door for trusted friends and family with the Ring app

    • Check the status of your lock remotely and, if you forgot to secure the deadbolt before leaving home, lock it using the app on your phone

    • Set up your lock with the Key by Amazon App for additional access control to your Ring of Security, including cameras

    To sync your Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt to your Ring Video Doorbell, download the Schlage Home, Ring and Key by Amazon apps to your smart phone and create accounts if needed. Follow the setup instructions in the Schlage Home app. Next, you’ll add the lock in the Ring App. From the dropdown menu, select Devices and tap on the + icon. You’ll then choose Locks and Connect via Key by Amazon and follow the remaining in-app instructions to complete setup.

    iPhone and Apple Watch

    The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt and Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt are both HomeKit™-enabled locks and compatible with a variety of Apple® devices through the Apple Home app. Why pair one of your Apple devices with the Schlage Sense lock or Schlage Encode Plus lock?

     

    • Lock/unlock your deadbolt from your iPhone or Apple Watch screen in the Apple Home app

    • Use Siri voice control to operate and check the status of your lock when near the lock

    • For the Schlage Encode Plus deadbolt, create and manage always-on access codes in the Apple Home app

    The Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt also supports Apple home keys for iPhone and Apple Watch. Why pair home keys with the Schlage Encode Plus lock?

     

    • Simply tap to lock and unlock the door using Apple home keys, stored in your Apple Wallet, on your iPhone or Apple Watch for easy and secure access to your home

    • Express mode for home keys offers the ability to use your iPhone or Apple Watch as your key without the need for authentication for quick unlock access

    There are a few ways to set up your devices to control your Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt with Apple home keys via your Apple Watch or iPhone.

    Setting up the Schlage Encode Plus deadbolt in Apple Home app

    If your Schlage Encode Plus deadbolt is already set up with the Schlage Home app, you’ll next need to pair it with HomeKit. From the Schlage Home app, select Works With from the dropdown menu and add HomeKit. Follow the instructions in the app. When it asks you to Add Accessory, you can tap your phone to the interior side of the lock on the HomeKit label or manually type in the HomeKit setup code found on the inside of the lock’s interior. Once the lock has been found and paired with HomeKit, select Yes when it asks if you want to use home keys. It will then ask if you want to use Express Mode. This mode allows you to unlock doors by holding your iOS device near the lock without first authenticating your iPhone or Watch with face or touch ID. You can choose to enable or disable Express Mode. Complete the setup process by following the final steps in the Schlage Home app.

     

    If you choose to control your Schlage Encode Plus deadbolt using the Apple Home app only, open the Apple Home app on your phone and choose Add Accessory. Locate the HomeKit setup label on the inside of the interior portion of the lock and tap your phone to that label. Alternatively, you can manually enter the HomeKit setup code shown on the label. When prompted, select Add to Home. Put the lock into pairing mode by pressing the black button on the inside of the lock’s interior. When the blue light flashes slowly, tap your phone to the lock to pair or choose to enter the HomeKit setup code manually. From here, you can follow the steps provided in the app.

    Setting up the Schlage Sense deadbolt in Apple Home app

    Open the Apple Home app on your iPhone and choose Add Accessory. Locate the HomeKit setup label on the inside of the interior portion of the lock or Quick Start Guide and scan the HomeKit QR code. Alternatively, you can manually enter the HomeKit setup code shown on the label. When prompted, select Add to Home.

     

    If setting up from the Schlage Home app after using the guided interactive instructions, choose “Continue with HomeKit.” Once you’ve chosen the “Continue with HomeKit” option, follow the instructions provided in the Schlage Home app.

    Apple TV®, iPad® or HomePod

    The Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt and Schlage Encode Plus Smart Deadbolt are also compatible with a variety of Apple devices, including Apple TV, iPad and HomePod via HomeKit, which allow a more options for access control and home automation. Why pair one of these Apple home hub devices with the Schlage Sense lock or Schlage Encode Plus lock in your Apple Home app?

     

    • Lock/unlock and check status of your lock remotely, which can give greater convenience and security

    • Allow your lock to work in tandem with other Apple HomeKit™-enabled devices in your home through the Apple Home app

    • For the Schlage Encode Plus deadbolt, remotely create and manage always-on access codes in the Apple Home app

    • Create automations that allow your lock to work with other Apple HomeKit-enabled devices in your home

    • Use Siri® to lock and unlock your door for hands-free convenience remotely

    • Receive notifications from the Apple Home app when the lock is used so you know who is coming and going from your home

    Here is a guide to setting up remote connectivity with Apple HomeKit using a compatible Apple TV, iPad or HomePod.

    Voice Assistants

    Don’t forget that you can use voice assistants with your smart deadbolts, too. In most cases, you’ll need to use one of the smart hubs above to take advantage of the compatibility between your lock and Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.

    Amazon Alexa

    Because of its built-in WiFi, you don’t need a smart hub to connect your Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt or Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt with an Alexa-enabled device. To start using your Schlage Encode locks with Alexa, access the Alexa app on your smartphone, choose the Schlage Home skill and follow the instructions in the app.

     

    If you have the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt, all you need is the Schlage Sense WiFi Adapter to use Alexa. Find instructions here.

     

    If you have the Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt with Zigbee technology, you’ll need Key by Amazon, Echo Plus or Samsung SmartThings. Use the links below for instructions on how to connect your Schlage Connect deadbolt with Zigbee to Alexa.

     

    Samsung SmartThings and Wink are also compatible with the Schlage Connect Deadbolt with Z-Wave Plus technology. Use the links below for instructions on how to connect your Schlage Connect deadbolt with Z-Wave Plus to Alexa.

     

    Google Assistant

    To pair Google Assistant with your Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt or Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt, follow these instructions.

     

    If you’re a Google Assistant user and have the Schlage Sense deadbolt, make sure you have the Schlage Sense WiFi Adapter to take advantage of voice control capabilities. Find instructions here.

    Siri

    To use Siri to control your Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt or Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt, follow these instructions. You can also learn which Apple devices support “Hey Siri” here.

    If you’re still considering which lock is right for you, try our Get Help Deciding Tool. You can also learn more about all of Schlage’s smart locks and find additional partners like Leviton that help you get the most from your deadbolt every day at Schlage.com.

     

    What is a mobile wallet and should you trust one?

    March 02, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Friday, March 4, 2022

    Mobile wallet | Schlage

    Mobile wallets are making financial transactions and keeping track of credentials easier, quicker and more convenient. But what are they? And how can you use them?

     

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    Stop wasting time doing unexciting things. As much as it feels like our lives are speeding up, we wouldn’t complain if we could get through everyday mundane tasks a little quicker. By taking advantage of technology like mobile wallets, you can do that. Spend less time standing in the checkout line, digging around in your bag for an ID or trying to track down your transit pass and more time enjoying what you bought and the friend you’re traveling to see.

     

    If you aren’t using a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay yet, chances are that you’ve seen someone else wave their phone near the card scanner, grab their bags and go. Or someone paid for their share of the check by saying, “I’ll Venmo you the money.” Mobile wallets are making financial transactions and keeping track of credentials easier, quicker and more convenient. But what are they? And how can you use them?

    Apple pay mobile wallet.

    What is a mobile wallet?

    In the simplest terms, a mobile wallet is the digital version of carrying everything you have in your physical wallet or pocketbook. Instead of a bunch of plastic credit and debit cards, the information you need to pay for in-store or online purchases is kept virtually in your mobile wallet. The same goes for loyalty cards, some identification cards and more.

     

    When this information is stored in your mobile wallet, you can then use your smartphone or compatible smart watch to make payments, show an ID or ticket, unlock a door or automatically link to those store rewards. The benefits of a mobile wallet include convenience, safety through touchless transactions and increased security.

     

    If you’ve ever gotten to a store and realized you forgot your wallet or don’t have the credit card you need, that problem is taken care of with mobile wallet. With everything you need to pay right on your phone, there’s no more searching your bag or making embarrassing apologies for holding up the line. Just tap your device with the mobile wallet to the store’s reader and you’re set.

     

    More stores and shoppers began to adopt mobile wallets for touchless pay during COVID-19. With no need for you to touch the store’s credit card reader or transfer a card or cash to the employee, risk of transmitting germs was reduced. And as for increased security? Keep reading.

    iPhone using apple home keys from mobile wallet

    Are mobile wallets safe?

    No matter where you keep your credit cards, you need them to be safe. The last thing you want is for the card or any of its information to fall into the wrong hands. The same goes for keys and other credentials. So you’re probably wondering how safe mobile wallets actually are? How much can you trust a mobile wallet to protect your personal information?

     

    To answer that, let’s start with how mobile wallets work. According to Clearview Federal Credit Union, mobile wallets use Device Account Numbers, or DANs, instead of your actual credit card or account numbers to make payments. After you enter your card or account information to the mobile wallet app, that information is encrypted. It’s the encrypted information – the DAN – that is used for transactions. This is important for security because if your phone or watch is lost or stolen, the finder has only the encrypted information, which is essentially useless to them without your biometric authentication or passcode. The encryption means they will not have direct access to your account.

     

    By comparison, if your physical credit card or credential is lost or stolen, there is little to deter someone else from using that information to make unauthorized purchases or otherwise impersonate you. It’s similar to why we at Schlage love keyless security for your home. Without physical keys to carry or share with someone like the babysitter or dog walker, you’re limiting the risk that those keys will go missing. Instead, by relying on smart lock access codes, you have greater control over who can enter your home, not to mention increased ability to monitor that access through smartphone apps.

     

    Authentication features like face ID or touch ID on your smart device also provide an additional layer of security to protect your personal and financial information. Before completing a mobile purchase at the store, you often have to prove your identity before the mobile wallet will complete the transaction. Again, that simply isn’t the case with a physical card or key.

     

    As with anything, of course, it’s best for you to also maintain secure personal practices. Don’t share your authentication code with others. Follow best practices to create strong access codes and PINs, taking special care to choose ones that can’t be easily guessed. And just as you wouldn’t hide a physical key in one of those obvious fake rocks, make sure you properly store your smart devices or take then with you when they’re not in use. Don’t leave them on the coffee shop table, even for a minute, or leave them in plain view in your car.

    Jogger using Apple Watch Home Keys on Schlage Encode Plus

    What else can you store in a mobile wallet?

    When we think of “wallets,” our minds often go first to money. But what else is in your physical wallet? There probably are plenty of other cards – IDs and licenses, store loyalty cards, bus passes – and scraps of paper like receipts, too.

     

    A mobile wallet isn’t much different. When using an app like Apple Wallet, you can store credit card information as well as boarding passes for your next flight, bus or subway passes, tickets for that concert or sporting event, in the mobile wallet.

     

    Again, loyalty cards can often be uploaded as well as some identification cards. Allegion, parent company of Schlage, helped make it possible for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to launch contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet in 2019. The groundbreaking innovation enhanced credential security on campus. Even if a phone was lost, students’ IDs, which were required to enter buildings, couldn’t be unlocked by someone other than the intended user. That means access to buildings like dorms was limited only to those with proper permissions.

     

    Increasingly, keys can also be stored in your mobile wallet. With Apple Wallet, you may be able to keep your hotel key – skipping the lobby check-in process – or your car key. When you have the Schlage Encode Plus™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, you can also pair the lock with your Wallet app to take advantage of home keys. This allows you to tap to unlock and securely and conveniently access your home without using a physical key. Just like when paying for your groceries, you tap your iPhone or Apple Watch to use what’s stored in your Wallet. And with the lock, that means easily entering your home, even when your hands are full of those groceries or they’re free because you left your keys in the entryway when you went for a run.

    Schlage Encode Plus Homekit, home keys lock.

    Learn more about the new Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt and how you can use it with Apple home keys, adding more security and convenience to your everyday life.

     

    Retrofit your home for energy efficiency with smarter lighting.

    January 19, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    Energy efficient lighting | Schlage

    With these lighting efficiency tips, you can upgrade your home easily to run more sustainably, save money and even make it safer.

     

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    You want to make your home more energy efficient, but how? If solar panels, geothermal heating and passive houses are expensive and a bigger commitment than you want to make right now, the answer is lighting. With these lighting efficiency tips, you can upgrade your home easily to run more sustainably, save money and even make it safer.
    Changing lightbulb in pendant light.

    How lighting makes your home safer

    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: A home that looks occupied is safer from intruders than one that looks vacant. One of the best ways to make your home look lived in is by keeping it illuminated.

     

    • Leave lights on or set them on a timer before you leave the house.

    • Make sure your porch is well-lit. Dark corners make excellent hiding spots for intruders.

    • Motion-activated lighting, especially outside near garage doors, gates or pools, can make intruders think they’ve been spotted, causing them to move out of the area.

     

    It’s not just about security, though. Good lighting can also improve personal health and safety.

     

    • Include lighting on walkways or near steps to reduce the risk of falls.

    • Install strip lighting along hallways or on stair risers to illuminate a path to the bathroom or an exit.

    • Use plug-in nightlights in children’s bedrooms or a bathroom. Any midnight trips will be safely illuminated without being temporarily blinded by turning on overhead lighting.

    • Choose smart lights or plug a lamp into a smart outlet so you can connect them to a voice assistant. In the event of a fall or other emergency where you or a loved one are unable to reach the light, “Alexa, turn on bedside lamp” could be important.
    Modern home exterior lighting at night

    How to live more sustainably with the right lighting

    Of course, all this lighting takes energy. If you’re concerned about CO2 emissions and improving your home’s energy efficiency for cost and environmental savings, the idea of leaving lights on the entire time you’re on vacation probably doesn’t sound appealing. The good news is that you can use lighting for home security without overdrawing from the energy grid.

    Different kinds of light bulbs on wooden background

    Choose the right bulbs

    For most single-family homes, you have three light bulb options: incandescents, LED and CFL. If you’ve been doing your sustainability homework, you already know that outdated incandescent light bulbs are the biggest energy vampires of the three. A 60-watt incandescent bulb uses, well, 60 watts of energy. The CFL equivalent of the same bulb uses just 14 watts, and the LED equivalent a mere 8.5 watts. That’s a decrease of almost 86% in energy use.

     

    LED and CFL bulbs have another advantage over incandescents: longer lifespan. According to Eartheasy, you would need an estimated 21 incandescent light bulbs for 25,000 hours of use (the equivalent of leaving the light on, non-stop, for almost three years). You can light your home for the same length of time using only 2.5 CFL bulbs and just 1 LED bulb. That translates to less trash in the landfill.

     

    Even though these numbers give LEDs and CFLs the clear win in terms of sustainability, you might be asking about financial cost. It’s true that they’re more expensive up front. However, when you consider how much less energy they require and the lower frequency of replacement, you’ll likely still come out ahead. Eartheasy has a great breakdown of the costs and savings over time for various lightbulbs.

    Front porch steps lighting.

    Control your lighting

    Once you have the right bulbs, you can improve your energy efficiency even more with the right lighting controls. One option for making your lighting more energy efficient is to use dimmer switches. We often think of dimmers for setting mood lighting, reducing the brightness. But dimming the lights also means they’re using less energy. Install a dimmer for greater control, using only the amount of light – and energy – you need.

     

    A second option is to use motion sensors with your lights. These are most common outside your home, near your doors or garage. Like we said at the beginning, this can deter intruders by making them think they’ve been spotted. And because they’ll only switch on when triggered, they aren’t using energy when not needed.

     

    Finally, and we include this because we hear our dad’s voice in our inner mind, you can go the old-fashioned route and be more mindful of your own daily habits. Remember to turn lights off when you leave the room. Open the curtains or blinds and use natural lighting as much as possible. Install mirrors strategically so that they bounce light around the room and give the illusion of more brightness. And if you’re at your desk, work bench or reading in your favorite armchair, consider tabletop lighting that illuminates only what you need to see rather than the entire room.

    Smart lighting controlled by smartphone

    Make lighting a part of your smart home

    Much like adding extra controls to your lighting can reduce energy use, so can making your lights part of your smart home automation. Including lighting in your smart routines is kind of like putting them on one of those first-generation timer plugs only much more sophisticated. For example, if you have an Evening Routine, schedule your lamps to automatically switch off at a certain time. That way, you won’t be burning through energy even if you forgot to turn something off before going to bed.

     

    Look for smart devices that work together to make this as seamless and simple as possible. With the Leviton Decora Smart® Wi-Fi® lighting control line, you can pair lighting with the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt so that when you lock the door, the lights turn off at the same time. You can also set it up so that locking your Schlage Encode deadbolt activates Leviton’s Away Mode. The simple act of securing your door triggers your lighting to turn on and off randomly, making your home look occupied, until you return and put your system back in Home Mode.

    When retrofitting your home for energy efficiency, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. How do you even get started if you want to make your home more sustainable? It’s best to take it in stages, changing minor habits you know you can maintain without major inconvenience and cost. Lighting is a great first step. When you’re ready for more, check out our tips for fixing drafty doors and other energy efficient DIYs.

     

    4 simple ways to retrofit your home for energy efficiency.

    January 14, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Friday, January 14, 2022

    Retrofit your home for energy efficiency | Schlage

    These four tips are just a few ways you can make your home more environmentally friendly.

     

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    When building a new house, the blank slate often means it’s easier to make sustainability a high priority. You can choose eco-friendly materials and design your layout to work with nature from the start. But what about when you’re retrofitting your current home? These four tips are just a few ways you can make your home more environmentally friendly.
    Smart thermostat in mid-century modern home.

    1. Maintain or upgrade major appliances

    Major appliances – refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers – can put massive amounts of stress on the electric grid. Not only are the large, often requiring a lot of power to function, but some may be on all the time. Your fridge doesn’t just quit working (thankfully) because you aren’t actively cooking.

    Upgrade your appliances to newer versions. Even if they aren’t a high-end, super-efficient appliance, one made in the last few years will still run more efficiently than one from the 1980s. You don’t need to replace all the appliances at once, either. If your budget means you have to gradually upgrade over time, prioritize the oldest appliances or those that get the most use and are more likely to wear down quickly.

     

    All appliances – new and old – should be maintained properly to keep them running efficiently.

    Refrigerator

    Remove dust from the coils – yes, that means pulling it away from the wall – especially if you have pets where hair and more grime can collect, causing your fridge to run less efficiently. Check the door’s seal. If a piece of paper closed in the door pulls out easily, it’s time to replace the gasket. Set your refrigerator’s temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is sufficient to keep your food safe, according to the FDA, and will help reduce energy use. Need other ideas? Turn off the automatic ice maker, place the fridge in a cool space away from heat sources like the stove and keep it organized so you can find things more quickly without leaving the door open.

    Dishwasher

    Good Housekeeping has some excellent tips for keeping your dishwasher clean, because if it’s gross, your dishes will be too, and then you’ll be stuck wasting more energy and water washing everything again by hand. In short, gently scrub the rubber seal around the door, wash the filter beneath the spray arm and, every once in a while, give it a thorough cleaning with vinegar and baking soda.

    Oven, stove and range

    Those food crumbs, drips and splatters on the inside of your oven, on your cooktop and under the range hood are more than just a little bit disgusting. They also keep your appliances from working efficiently. The oven won’t heat as quickly, and your range hood can’t ventilate properly with dirt and grime in the way.

    Washing machine

    Because the most energy-efficient washers typically only use warm or cold water, you may find you get more residue and mildew buildup around your washer’s interior and rubber seals. Be diligent about cleaning it to keep the machine in good working condition, maintaining its efficiency.

    Dryer

    Clean the lint trap and air vents regularly. This improves air circulation so your clothes dry faster. As an added bonus, it can also cut down on fire risk. You’ll also want to clean the moisture sensors so that they can accurately determine when a load is dry, signaling the machine to turn off.

     

    Smart appliances can help make your home more energy efficient. ENERGY STAR, for example, points out that a smart refrigerator can send you an alert if the door is left open or lets you look inside without opening the door, perfect for when you can’t decide on a snack or just need to see if you need to buy more eggs.

     

    If you’d rather not connect your appliances to the Internet of Things (IoT), or if you aren’t able to upgrade to a smart appliance just yet, go the old-fashioned route and be more energy efficient by modifying your habits. Run your dishwasher and do laundry at times when your electricity rates are lowest. This puts less strain on the grid and your wallet. Air dry your clothes when you can. And never run a load of wash – clothes or dishes – unless it’s full.

    Modern kitchen with two toned cabinets, stainless steel appliances and herringbone backsplash.

    2. Rethink your water heater

    Think of all the times you need hot water. Showering, washing your hands, cooking, cleaning the house all require at least warm water, and heating it up can be an energy suck. To make an existing water heater more efficient, start by turning down the thermostat. The default temperature of about 130 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for skin anyway. Reducing it just 10 degrees can conserve unexpectedly high amounts of energy and money.

    Also consider insulating your water tank and pipes to reduce heat loss before it even reaches the faucet. And keep an eye on sediment buildup at the bottom of your tank. Especially if your area has hard water, you’ll get crystallized minerals that slow down the water heater and undermine its efficiency.

     

    If you’re looking to upgrade to a more efficient water heater, you have lots of options. First look for ENERGY STAR ratings as ENERGY STAR-certified water heaters can use 50% less energy than other models. Also, you might want a tankless water heater. These tend to be more energy efficient because they only warm up the water you need, when you need it. Other, more traditional models spend a lot of energy heating water and keeping it warm until you’re ready for it.

     

    Whatever kind of water heater you decide on, make sure it’s the right size for your home. Too large and you’re using energy unnecessarily. Too small, and you’ll make the water heater work overtime, which isn’t good for the appliance or the electric grid, either.

     

    Looking for more of those old-fashioned solutions? Switch your washing machine from hot water to warm or even cold, which can reduce energy consumption by about half. Take shorter showers and turn the faucet off when you aren’t using it, like when loading the dishwasher.

    Baby getting a bath in the kitchen sink.

    3. Help your HVAC work smarter, not harder

    In the typical American household, heating and cooling a space makes up 40-50% of the home’s energy use with most of that going toward heating. The first and easiest step toward reducing that energy use is with good maintenance. Change the filter in your HVAC system about every three months. Also, learn the signs of a failing or inefficient system. These include strange smells when it turns on, little air or the not right kind of air – cold air when you have the heat on and vice versa – blowing from the vents, excessive running time and fluid leaks around the unit.

    If you’re looking to upgrade your HVAC system, consider a multi-stage system. Unlike single-stage systems that run at full capacity all the time, multi-stage systems vary their output. They might still be operating at full capacity during the hottest and coldest days of the year, but in between? They’re conserving energy.

     

    You’ll also want to pay attention to Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings when looking for a new heating system. For the best efficiency, look for units with ratings in the 80s and 90s, meaning they convert 80 to 90 percent of the fuel they use into heat.

     

    The best cooling systems vary widely depending on how big your home is and your region’s climate. Regardless, look for cooling systems with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of at least 13.

    HVAC

    4. Know when to unplug small electronics

    Small electronics have become so common in our lives, we’ve essentially become blind to them. When you’re done charging your phone overnight, do you unplug the charger from the wall or just leave it until the next evening? Do you unplug your TV when you aren’t watching it or your laptop when you’ve finished reading emails?

    It’s best to unplug devices when not in use so they aren’t drawing what’s commonly referred to as phantom energy. But let’s be honest. Sometimes that’s just inconvenient. In these situations, plug the electronics into a power strip so that you can easily turn them on and off with a single switch.

     

    You can also try a smart power strip. This term can mean a lot of things, including being WiFi-enabled so that you can control the devices remotely from your phone. But what we’re talking about here is smart surge protectors with automatic current-sensing technology. These have a “control” socket so that whenever the device plugged into that main outlet is turned off, other devices plugged into the strip will enter a kind of sleep mode. In other words, turn off your TV and your speakers and gaming system are also powered down. This is also great for the home office.

    Home office with bookcase desk lamp and laptop.

    Preventing air leaks and improving insulation are two frequently tackled home improvement projects of the environmentally conscious. Learn how to check your insulation and fix drafty windows and doors at the Schlage blog.

     

    15 robots you’ll want to bring home in 2022.

    January 06, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Thursday, January 6, 2022

    Home robots | Schlage

    You'll want to keep an eye on these 15 robots in 2022 that will make your home cleaner, healthier and better for families.

     

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    As we get deeper into the 21st century, it’s impossible to talk about technology without mentioning robots for the smart home. And why would we when those robots can help make our homes cleaner, healthier and better for our families? Virtual reality is in our living rooms, health trackers are in our bedrooms, voice assistants are … everywhere. See how these 15 innovative robots continue the trend, bringing new levels of security, companionship and convenience to your home.
    Roomba in living room.

    Robots “maid” for you

    In a recent poll, more than 70 percent of people said their homes would be cleaner if they had robots to do their chores. Luckily, we already have access to robots that will help with some of those dirty jobs. Here are a few of our favorites.

    Cleansebot

    The things we touch and use every day are the same things we should be cleaning most often if we want to keep our homes and families healthy. Sometimes those high-touch items are also the toughest to clean. Enter Cleansebot. This compact robot claims to use UV-C light technology to sanitize 40 different materials, including fabric. This might be the perfect solution for giving couches, curtains and bedding, especially when traveling and staying in hotels, a good cleaning.

    iRobot Bravva jet 240

    Vacuuming can be a never-ending task, especially if you have pets. Robotic vacuums have been making the chore easier for more than a decade now. For those ready to take it to the next level, you’ll see more mopping robots to help tackle more floor – and dirt – types. You’ll definitely want one for those hard-to-reach spaces like around toilets.

    Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner

    This robot will do the dirty work whether you have expanses of windows or very tall ones like those that span multiple stories in an entryway. No more hauling in a ladder and perching on it perilously or paying someone to clean your windows for you. Suction keeps it attached to the window, while AI helps determine where the windows’ edges are and makes sure all of the glass gets a good scrubbing. Don’t forget to try it on stubborn glass shower doors, too.

    Grillbot

    We’ve been cooking at home a lot more recently. We’ve also been spending a lot more time outdoors. Often, we do both at the same time. That’s why the Grillbot comes in so handy. This automatic grill cleaning robot scrubs and scrapes with its wire brushes so you don’t have to.

    Worx Landroid robotic mower

    Using much the same technology as robotic vacuums, this robotic lawnmower trims your grass while you stay cool inside or focus on other activities like playing with the kids. The Worx Landroid also has rain sensors that will send it back to the docking station when the weather turns, as well as security features like a PIN number to start operation and alerts if it strays from your yard.

    Smart robots for smarter kids

    When remote learning became widespread during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, schools and families had to get creative quickly. One of the biggest challenges was finding engaging ways to connect with children and keep their minds growing. Even though our kiddos are back in the classroom, that doesn’t mean we’re ready to let go of these learning-assistive robots.

    LEGO Education

    LEGO sees learning through play as a vital part of building kids’ social-emotional needs, increasingly important as we navigate the challenges of classroom, virtual and hybrid learning. If your kids have already made The Child, they might love taking it a step farther with LEGO Education SPIKE Prime and other make-your-own robots that teach coding, problem solving and creative design. They’ll think they’re playing, but you’ll know they’re learning essential skills in science, technology and innovation.

    Miko 3

    This adorable little robot can hear, speak and relate to your child using a variety of speakers, algorithms and cues from your child. Miko 3 is also programmed to help them learn, providing knowledge and skills that are right for their age and that you can control. It speaks multiple languages and can even teach your kiddo a new one. As more research finds that robots can get kids excited about reading, devices like this one will become increasingly popular.

    Wigl

    Rarely do we see the combination of music education with STEM training. Wigl was created to inspire kids at a young age to get into robotics and engineering. The little bug-looking robot dances based on the musical notes it hears. Your kids will learn the connection between their actions and the robot’s when they can make it “wigl” as they play a song or sing to it.

    Cue

    Looking for more ways to give your kids a jump start in learning? For those who are ready for the next challenge in coding, there’s Cue. The app houses demos, tutorials and challenges so your young engineer can learn at their own pace and follow their own interests.

    Artificial intelligence, true companionship

    Yes, many people have a fear of robots. While they’re always trying to take over the world in movies, robots can actually bring us all closer together in real life. We already ask Alexa to tell us jokes. We say, “Hey Google, text Mom.” Experts expect 29 percent growth in the market for “social robots” annually over the next few years, so it’s not a far leap to think that some of these companionable robots will soon take up residence in our homes.

    aibo

    Everyone tries to create a robot dog, but aibo seems like one that offers the most fun. With artificial intelligence, he can learn his environment and your habits to fit in with your home and family. You can feed him with the app – shake your phone to bring him running at the sound of treats – send him on “Puppy Patrol” to find someone on your People of Interest registry and have him do tricks. As Sony, the maker of aibo, says, his “happiness is spending quality time with you.”

    Vayyar Home

    Falls are a concern for many, but this robot can help remove some of the worries. Vayyar Home uses radio frequency to tell if someone in the room has fallen. Then, even if they’re unconscious, the device will contact a caregiver. It works anywhere in the home but is especially popular in bathrooms both because falls so often happen in that space and because Vayyar Home does not use cameras. There are also no wearables or buttons that need to be pressed to send an alert. In addition to fall detection, Vayyar Home provides data on night-time wandering, number of visits to the bathroom and time spent resting so you can track changes in your loved one’s health and behavior.

    ElliQ

    Here’s another robot geared toward helping people age at home safely. ElliQ is part of a care program that keeps older homeowners engaged and mentally sharp through conversation. Described as “a dedicated sidekick,” it also has features related to physical exercise, stress management and more.

    Robots on the rise … we hope

    Maybe they aren’t real yet and maybe no one knows what exactly they’re capable of, but it’s fun to dream about how some of these space-age robots could improve our daily lives.

    Aido

    No, it’s not the robot dog. This one combines entertainment, convenience and companionship into one humanoid robot. There’s an interactive projector so you can show movies and play games on a wall. It can also read stories to your kids, help with chores and act as a personal assistant. Connect it to other smart devices and you can ask Aido to do things like adjust the thermostat, see who’s at the door or play music. There’s speech and facial recognition and more AI integration you’ll love to explore when Aido becomes available.

    PR2

    The assistive robot is still in the research and development stages, but if it becomes more viable, not to mention affordable, the benefits are priceless. The goal is to give individuals with disabilities more independence. In trial studies, it has worked with those who are paralyzed to help them complete tasks as common as scratching an itch. If this robot succeeds in assisting in other ways – eating, dressing, cleaning – countless people will be able to live more “normal” lives.

    SpotMini

    This robotic dog is a spinoff of Boston Dynamics’ original Spot. While Spot is better suited for construction and public safety uses – in 2021 Hyundai started using it to monitor safety in some of its factories – they anticipate SpotMini to be of greater use in homes. It already has figured out how to help with dishes and open doors. What sets SpotMini apart from other household chore robots is that it operates on four legs rather than wheels. That opens possibilities for assisting on uneven ground and stairways.

    Whether for yourself or loved ones, technology can have a lasting and positive impact on lives. Find technology-related gift ideas on our gift giving guide, or learn more about how Schlage smart locks work with the technology you already have on our blog.

     

    Tap to unlock Schlage’s latest smart lock with Apple home keys.

    January 04, 2022 by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, January 4, 2022

    Apple Home Keys lock

    The new Schlage Encode Plus™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt is compatible with Apple® home keys, giving you more ways to protect what matters most plus greater convenience through hands-free, remote technology.

     

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    Thanks to the latest innovations in technology, a lock is more than just a lock, a phone is more than just a phone and a watch is more than just watch. The new Schlage Encode Plus™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt is compatible with Apple® home keys, giving you more ways to protect what matters most plus greater convenience through hands-free, remote technology.
    Jogger using apple watch home keys to unlock front door.

    Secure access with Schlage door locks + home keys

    You’re standing at the door with your hands full and can’t reach your keys. Next thing you know, the bottom of the grocery bag is wet from a puddle, you’ve dropped the files you brought home from work and your kiddo is dancing from foot to foot because they need to get inside now.

     

    Or maybe you’re standing in your entryway, running shoes on, Fido is leashed and the sun is shining just waiting for you to both get out and stretch your legs. But you don’t have pockets and even if you did, you don’t want keys or your phone weighing you down, tugging on your shorts the entire way.

     

    Even if you haven’t found yourself in these exact positions, we’re willing to bet you can still relate. Instead of an armload of groceries, it’s the baby in a carrier and a diaper bag. Instead of running with the dog, it’s hitting the bike trail. Whatever the specifics of the situation, the solution is always the Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt.

     

    When you pair Schlage’s latest smart lock with Apple home keys, you don’t have to drop everything at the door or fuss with physical keys. Instead, use the digital key, stored in your Apple Wallet®, to lock and unlock your door with your Apple Watch® or iPhone®. Apple Watch Series 4 or later with watchOS or later or iPhone XS or later with iOS 15 and above is required.

    Apple Home Keys unlocked Schlage Encode Plus lock

    Choose Schlage, Apple or both – at the same time

    With the Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt, you don’t have to choose between pairing your device with the Schlage® Home app or Apple HomeKit®. You can use both – at the same time. For those without an Apple home hub, there are still plenty of ways to control access to your home conveniently and securely.

     

    • With Apple Wallet, you can use home keys to lock and unlock your door, even without an Apple home hub. As long as you’re close enough to the door to tap to unlock, you can use your compatible Apple Watch or iPhone to enter. It’s the same as if you were paying for groceries with the Wallet app or showing your boarding pass at the airport. They’re all simple, convenient and secure.

    • Add and delete up to 100 unique access codes using the Schlage Home app on any smart phone or the Apple Home app on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Please note that if you choose to use your Apple device, you will need to be near the lock to activate a new code unless you’re synced with a compatible Apple home hub. More on remote access with Apple Home in a minute.

    • If you want to schedule codes – have them active on a recurring or temporary basis – you’ll want to use the Schlage Home app. This way, you can set the codes to be active only on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. or on June 10-15, for example. Codes created via the Apple Home app will remain “always on,” activated all day, every day.

    • If you like using Alexa or Google Assistant at home, you can still do that, even if you’ve paired the Schlage Encode Plus lock with an Apple device, too. The deadbolt’s built-in WiFi means you can connect directly to those two voice assistants to check the status of the lock or to lock the door with a simple voice command. Want to use Siri® too – or instead? Keep reading.

    Do more together

    If you like to go all in with your Apple device – you have the Apple Watch, HomeKit, an Apple TV, iPad and the list goes on – then you’ll love these extras when you pair your Schlage Encode Plus WiFi Deadbolt with a compatible Apple home hub and the Apple Home and Schlage Home apps. You’ll get all the functionality we’ve already mentioned, plus these.

    Works with

    Works with Schlage Home app badge
    Works with Apple HomeKit badge

    Smart device
    control


    iOS and Android smartphones

    Manage and control from app screen


    iPhone and Apple Watches

    Manage and control from app screen or use home keys

    Access
    codes


    100 codes

    Always on | Reoccurring | Temporary


    100 codes

    Always on

     

    Voice
    control

    Works with Alexa badge.
    Works with Hey Google badge
     
     
    Works with Hey Siri

    Remote
    access

    Remote access out of the box

    when connected to your home WiFi network, no hub required

    Add a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad

    as a home hub to make your lock part of automations or control it remotely with the Apple Home app

     

    • The smart home automation you have set up through Apple HomeKit can also include the Schlage Encode Plus lock. Maybe it’s a vacation mode or a Good Night scene that prompts the door to lock. It could be something unique to you and your lifestyle that adds the convenience and peace of mind you expect when you trust your home to Schlage in addition to the easy automation of Apple.

    • By pairing your devices to an Apple home hub, you gain remote access control of your lock using your Apple Home app. Without the hub, you can still lock and unlock the door at short range - of the lock. With the hub, though, you can lock/unlock the door, and create codes from anywhere. (Remote access with the Schlage Home app is still available without an additional hub.)

    • Share an access code with trusted family or friends remotely through the Schlage Home or Apple Home app. If creating and sharing through the Apple Home app, you’ll need to be connected to be near the lock or have it connected to an Apple home hub. Once they receive the code, your guests can use it at the lock’s touchscreen to come and go.

    • Ask Siri to check the status of your lock or to lock the door when the deadbolt is paired with the Apple home hub. You can also still use Alexa or Google Assistant at the same time with the Schlage Home app.

    • Enjoy seamless control of access to your home, even if you have a mixed-device household. Because there’s no need to choose between the Schlage mobile experience or Apple HomeKit, the iPhone afficionado in your family gets all their favorite functionality and Apple automations while the person who prefers Android can do the same.

     

    You can’t really go wrong whether you rely on the Schlage Encode Plus lock’s built-in WiFi for connectivity or pair it with your favorite Apple technology. But when you opt for both simultaneously, you’ll see how you can do more with them together.

    Which Apple devices are compatible with the Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt?

    To take advantage of capabilities such as remote access or home automation via HomeKit, you need to pair your Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt with a compatible Apple home hub such as an Apple TV®, iPad®, Apple HomePod® or Apple HomePod mini®. To control your HomeKit-enabled accessory, the latest version of iOS or iPadOS is recommended.

     

    At the launch of the new Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt, to use home keys, the following devices are required:
     

    • iPhone XS or later with iOS 15 or later, or
    • Apple Watch Series 4 or later with watchOS 8 or later

     

    Visit support.apple.com for updated compatibility requirements.

    What else can I do with home keys?

    • Wallet app: Store and access your home keys with peace of mind. Home keys live in your Apple Wallet app, along with your credit cards, car keys and other passes. We are committed to safeguarding your digital access through home keys with the same trusted protection of the personal and financial information you already store in Wallet.

    • Power Reserve: Worried about getting in if your phone battery dies? With Apple’s Power Reserve, even if the iPhone needs to be charged, you may still be able to tap to unlock for up to five hours after their iPhone battery runs out.

    • Multiple locks, one home key: If you have more than one Schlage Encode Plus lock on your home, or maybe one on your own home and another on your rental property, you can control them all with the same home key. That’s the ultimate convenience in the palm or your hand or back of your wrist.

    • Multiple home keys, one lock: You can have multiple home keys set up for same lock, perfect for letting everyone in the family come and go with ease and security.

     

    To learn more about the Schlage Encode Plus Smart WiFi Deadbolt and to join our mailing list for updates on product availability, visit schlage.com/encodeplus.

     

    Top 10 Schlage blogs of 2021.

    December 29, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, December 29, 2021

    Ringing in 2022

    As we head into the new year, we thought we’d recap some of our favorite tips, tricks, hacks and inspiration from 2021.

     

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    2021 changes to 2022 on an alarm clock on a yellow background with festive glitter on New Year's Eve and Christmas.
    It’s almost time to turn another calendar page, which always makes us a little nostalgic. As we head into the new year, we thought we’d recap some of our favorite tips, tricks, hacks and inspiration from 2021.
    home robot

    This is one a lot of you checked out throughout the year, and it’s no wonder. We love the idea of anything that makes life easier and our kids smarter. If you missed this one, head over now and see if the Grillbot, which scrubs and scrapes your BBQ station for you, or Wigl, which teaches kids programming through music, are on your 2022 wish list.

     

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    Hollow core door makeover

    This is one a lot of you checked out throughout the year, and it’s no wonder. We love the idea of anything that makes life easier and our kids smarter. If you missed this one, head over now and see if the Grillbot, which scrubs and scrapes your BBQ station for you, or Wigl, which teaches kids programming through music, are on your 2022 wish list.

     

    READ MORE

    Porch remodels

    When we shared this blog on Facebook, you all had some amazing things to say. Even Mike Holmes chimed in. Plus, who doesn’t love a rags-to-riches story? These front porch makeovers show just how much impact some curb appeal TLC can have.

     

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    Pregnant woman painting rainbow textile

    It’s a beautiful and exciting time of life, but when you’re expecting, it can also be overwhelming. You have so many questions! We tried to answer a few of those queries about what you should and shouldn’t do so Mom and Baby stay healthy during home improvement projects. This one was also part of our eight-part Bringing Home Baby series, so be sure to check out the other blogs on nesting in the nursery, organization with kiddos and more.

     

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    children and father playing with cardboard box.

    Staying safe and keeping your home secure is everyone’s responsibility. It’s never too early to start teaching kids how to protect themselves. This blog, which was part of our Crime Prevention Month series, offers some effective tips for doing just that. If you have little ones in your life, you won’t want to miss this list of security lessons ranging from knowing what to do when a stranger comes to the door to teaching your teens about dating violence.

     

    READ MORE

    Woman in virtual meeting while working from home.

    Cybersecurity is nothing to take lightly. We buy gifts and bank online, order meal delivery via an app, stream music through smart speakers and pay for groceries with our watch. And then we started working from home and we weren’t just protecting our own digital identities but our employers’ information as well. This article offers advice to help make sure your connected transactions, from bill pay to video chats to storing confidential files, are secure.

     

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    digital organization

    Raise your hand if you’ve ever made the New Year’s resolution to be more organized. Yup, us too. As part of our January series on cleaning and organization, we shared our favorite tips for beating electronic clutter. Although it’s less obvious than a messy closet shelf, a disorganized computer or phone can have a major impact on your sanity and the security of your personal information.

     

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    woman painting wall with green paint

    Sustainability isn’t just a buzz word. And for many homeowners, not being environmentally friendly isn’t an option anymore. Still, the best ways to make your home more sustainable aren’t always obvious. That’s why we made this guide to eco-friendly renovations. In this article, we cover everything from choosing “clean” materials for inside the home to beneficial landscaping ideas for outside.

     

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    Houseplants

    In 2019, we decorated with houseplants because they were beautiful. In 2020, they became a hobby because what else was there to do? In 2021, we stuck with houseplants for their style and as a hobby. If you’re among the group that’s still struggling to keep their indoor plants healthy though, start with this blog, which covers how much lighting, water and humidity your houseplants need to thrive. We also give some ideas for plant varieties that will make turning your brown thumb green easier. If you’re looking for more – how to choose the right container, how to keep your pets and plants safe at the same time – you’ll find it in the rest of our series on all things houseplants.

     

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    Lever and door handing

    Door hardware can be surprisingly complex sometimes. Case in point: lever and door handing. We wrote this piece to help you buy the right thing when upgrading the levers in your home – and not have to install them upside-down or return them to the store. Get the complete explanation here and if you still have questions, send us a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

     

    READ MORE

    Honorable mention

    How to clean porch décor: When was the last time you washed that doormat?

     

    Advice for buying your first home: Because buyer’s remorse hits a lot harder on a house you spent thousands on versus a $50 sweater.

     

    Time travel: Vacation safety tips from 1953 that still work: A lot has changed in almost 70 years … but not as much as you might think.

     

    How to set up a home bar for your best holiday hosting: A Joybird study found that a fully stocked bar is the top-ranked must-have for hosting a party, so are your ready?

     

    This is just the tiniest of fractions of what we offered in 2021, hoping to provide you with the ideas and know-how for turning your home into a haven. Find the rest, from DIY projects to technology and security updates, at Schlage.com/blog.

     

    7 (more) ways to secure your smart home for National Crime Prevention Month.

    October 25, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Monday, October 25, 2021

    7 ways to secure your smart home for National Crime Prevention Month. | Schlage

    Here are a few ways to secure your home so you can protect your personal information and home even better.

     

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    Once upon a time, we shared 10 tips for securing your smart home for Crime Prevention Month. We still stand by those suggestions, but here are a few more so you can protect your personal information and home even better.
     

    1. Manage your passwords

    Once you’ve set strong passwords, you might be tempted to write them down so you don’t forget. Don’t use a Post-It that anyone could find. Use an app or other secure cloud-based storage instead. If you do just make a note of it in your phone, at least password-protect your phone or use facial recognition.

    Getting rid of unnecessary passwords is often an overlooked but important part of security. For example, if you’ve created multiple access codes for your smart lock, do a regular inventory to see if they’re all still needed. That code you created for your friends when they visited six months ago? Delete it. The one your neighbor used to water your plants when you were on vacation? Delete that one, too. Just like you don’t want spare keys floating around, you don’t want unnecessary access codes out there, either.

     

    2. Beef up your work-from-home security

    Now that it’s more common to spend at least part of your working life in your home office, make sure you’re taking all the precautions to keep personal and professional information safe. Adopt antivirus software, use a secure VPN when sharing data and be careful what you screenshare during that next Zoom call. Learn more ways to improve your security when working remotely.

    3. Use all available features

    Many smart devices have security features built in. Maybe it’s a way to track and find your phone if it goes missing. Or it could be an alarm and push notifications on your smart lock. Take the time to explore the options on your device and activate those that will improve your overall home security.

     

    4. organize electronic clutter

    There’s something really satisfying about clearing out a closet, but organizing your digital footprint? That’s not usually our first thought come spring cleaning time. Remove unnecessary apps from your phone, unsubscribe from e-newsletters you never read and delete desktop folders that don’t actually help you stay organized. You’ll be able to find what you need more easily, plus have a better handle on where personal information is and how it’s being used. That’s a key factor in beating electronic clutter for security.

    5. Do a home inventory

    If your home is broken into and devices are stolen, a home inventory will help you to know exactly what’s missing. While this can expedite insurance claims in some cases, it will also make it easier for you to know what data might have been stolen along with a device. Of course, it’s not just technology that should go on your home audit. Credit cards, passports and other personal documents that can be used to steal your identity can also be included.

     

    6. talk to your kids about cybersecurity

    Anyone under the age of 30 has no memory of life before the internet. Their ease with technology can be an advantage, but it can also put them at risk if they get too comfortable. Teach your kids what information should and shouldn’t be shared online, encourage them to safely store their devices when they aren’t using them and make sure they know not to divulge other information such as smart lock access codes, even to best friends. And in case you missed it, check out the first part of our Crime Prevention Month series with tips for how kids can help protect your home security.

    7. refresh your online shopping strategy

    The holidays are right around the corner. When you go to snag all those cyber deals, use this guide to stay secure shopping online and prevent package theft. They’ll help protect the financial information you share with stores as well as your purchases when they reach your doorstep.

    Since 1984, the National Crime Prevention Council has declared October as Crime Prevention Month. Since then, they’ve worked with a variety of organizations to improve personal safety and crime prevention in our neighborhoods. Get the answer to “How secure are electronic deadbolts and smart locks?” and learn more about smart home tech at the Schlage blog.

     

    5 smart back-to-school hacks.

    August 27, 2021 by emily.bailey

    Friday, August 27, 2021

    Smart back to school hacks | Schlage

    Most of us could use all the help we can get when back-to-school season heats up. With the right smart home technology, you can make mornings smoother and evenings calmer.

     

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    Most of us could use all the help we can get when back-to-school season heats up. With the right smart home technology, you can make mornings smoother and evenings calmer. Try these five back-to-school hacks to get smart this fall.

    Get smart about … scheduling

    This is an easy one, especially if you already use Alexa or Google Assistant. Use your voice assistant to set a series of timers to help everyone get out the door on time. It’s 7 a.m.? Wake up. 7:30? Come get your breakfast. 8:15? Time to catch the bus. Look into the Echo Dot Kid’s Edition for capabilities designed especially for the kiddos.

     

    You can also create routines through your voice assistant, so one word and your smart home is seamlessly taking you through bedtime paces. “Alexa, time for bed” could dim the lights in your child’s room, turn on sleep sounds and turn off other technology that could interfere with their sleep patterns. (Keep reading for more sleep-friendly tech tips.)

     

    As the day-to-day action picks up, use your voice assistant to remind you of important tasks. Sync it with your personal calendar and ask it to notify you of upcoming events like a soccer game, parent-teacher conferences or deadlines. You can also set one notification for recurring events, so each Tuesday, Alexa will remind your kids it’s time to take out the trash.

    Get smart about … organization

    If you need help keeping track of schedules and making sure you know how to reach everyone in the carpool, there’s an app for that. There are actually quite a few. Choose one that lets you share calendars and contacts with the whole family. If your kids have a smartphone, set them up with apps to help with homework – due-date reminders, language learning, math assistance, note-taking and even creating flashcards. And don’t forget parental control apps that limit their screen time. Check out Digital Trends’ recommendations.

     

    Wonder of all wonders, your child remembered that they need posterboard for the science fair more than 24 hours in advance. Ask Alexa to add school supplies, food for lunches and more to your Amazon shopping list. If it’s something you use regularly and replenish often – maybe laundry detergent for all those sports jerseys and school uniforms – Alexa can reorder it automatically so you don’t even have to ask.

    Get smart about … security

    Schlage smart locks can’t improve your child’s grades, but they can do a lot of other really helpful things. When you create unique access codes for your kids, they no longer have to carry – and try not to lose – a spare key. Not only do you not have to worry about who found the spare, but you always know Bobby and Susie can get in the house when they return from school, football practice or band rehearsal. If they forget their code, you can always unlock the door from anywhere for them using a compatible app on your smartphone.

     

    Need another benefit of a smart lock for back-to-school? When your Schlage lock is connected to your home network or smart hub, you can access an activity log on your phone. You’ll be able to see who used their code and when, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing your kids made it home from school on time.

     

    Learn more about each of our smart locks – the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt, Schlage Sense® Smart Deadbolt and Schlage Connect® Smart Deadbolt – and try the Smart Lock Selector to see which one is best for your family.

    Get smart about … sleep

    Science has proved that kids learn better when they get a good night’s rest and smart technology can actually help kids sleep. This Wake Up Light simulates sunset and sunrise to ease your student in and out of sleep. Customize the start of the day by choosing between a range of light colors and brightness as well as different alarm sounds. Digital Trends has more suggestions for tech that creates white noise and sleep sounds to help your little one get to sleep faster.

     

    If your kids are restless sleepers, it might be an air quality issue. An air purifier and humidifier can help remove air particles and allergens. The humidifier adds moisture to the room so they aren’t breathing stale, dry air. All of this together might help them breathe more easily, resulting in better rest. The Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool is on the pricier side, but we like its smart features – control it with an app or via Alexa and Apple Siri® – and quiet settings for night mode.

    Get smart about … college

    Help your older kids be smart on campus. The easiest way to turn a dorm into a smart home, even though it’s a temporary living situation, is by installing smart plugs or power strips. You get to skip the hardwiring, but they can still control lights, music and more. A multi-port USB charger is always helpful, too. No more fighting with the roommate for valuable outlets when everyone needs to charge their phone, tablet and other tech at the same time.

     

    No matter where your college student lives – at home, in a dorm, in an off-campus apartment – get them a Bluetooth tracker for their valuables. Apple AirTag for iPhone users and Tile Mate for Android users are great ways to find laptops and other devices if someone tries to swipe them.

     

    Back-to-school doesn’t have to be a stressful time. With smart technology, you can make it easier than geometry proofs and French verb conjugation. Find more ways to make the season a snap on the Schlage blog with our tips for creating a family command center, taking the perfect back-to-school photos and designing a homework station that will help them focus.

     

     

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